The second time I made this recipe, I decided to go the vegetarian route, with excellent results. Topped with stir-fried tofu, and crunchy, colorful red peppers, carrots, and snow peas, this dish is full of healthy fats and protein, and bursting with flavor - a real winner.
Usually I'm all about mise en place, but I'm comfortable prepping ingredients as I go along with this one, as timing is not too crucial. Just rinse all your veggies before you start and put a large pot of water on to boil and you'll be fine. So go ahead and mince the garlic and ginger, then combine it in a bowl with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil, then whisk everything to combine. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the sauce for later use.
Cut the carrots, red pepper, and tofu, then toss them together with the snow peas and the 3 tablespoons of sauce.
Puree the rest of the sauce with the peanut butter in a blender until smooth.
Put your noodles in the boiling water and slice the scallions while the noodles boil.
Drain the noodles, rinse them with cold water, and then drain them well. Toss the noodles in a large bowl with the pureed sauce and the scallions. If you are not going to be serving for a while, place the noodles in the fridge, just remember to take them out about 15 minutes before you're ready to eat so that they are not ice cold.
Heat the oil over high heat in a wok style pan until it is shimmering. Add the tofu and vegetables and stir-fry for a few minutes, until the vegetables are just tender. Place about 1/4 of the noodles in a bowl and top them with the stir-fried tofu and vegetables.
Here's a picture of the alternative, non-veggie version with chicken. Just marinate some boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) in the separate 3 tablespoons of sauce, then grill them, slice them, and serve them on top of the noodles.
Sesame Noodles with Stir-fried Tofu and Vegetables (adapted from Cook's Country Magazine)
About 30 minutes - Serves 4
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons of minced ginger
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons hot sauce (I use Frank's Red Hot)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup peanut butter (I suggest a sugar-free, salt-free peanut butter)
- 1 package of extra-firm tofu (12 to 16 ounces), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 cups of snow peas
- 1 large red pepper, cut into matchstick size strips
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick size strips
- 6 scallions (green part only), sliced thin
- 1 pound Asian noodles (I suggest buckwheat soba noodles)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil
- Whisk the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl, separate 3 tablespoons of sauce and set it aside
- Toss the 3 tablespoons of sauce with the tofu, snow peas, red pepper, and carrot
- Puree the rest of the sauce with the peanut butter in a blender until smooth
- Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt to the boiling water, toss in the noodles, and boil according to package instructions
- Slice the scallions
- Drain the noodles, rinse them with cold water, and then drain them again
- Toss the cooled and drained noodles with the pureed peanut sauce and the scallions (refrigerate if you're not going to serve right away)
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok-style pan over high heat
- When the oil is shimmering, add the tofu and vegetables and stir-fry until just tender, about 4 minutes
- Separate the noodles into 4 bowls and top each with 1/4 of the stir-fried tofu and vegetables